The Aegean island of the Apocalypse is known as the place where Saint John the Theologian wrote the Book of Revelation.
It’s a nostalgic destination, offering wild beauty, a striking coastline with light blue waters, a medieval Chora, a maze of alleyways filled with cascading bougainvillea, and beautiful doors; the imposing stone monastery of Saint John the Theologian, great food, and friendly locals. Patmos is an unspoiled island that you should explore at your own pace.
Make sure you add these 10 things to do in Patmos to your list when you visit!
1. Get wonderfully lost in the alleys of Patmos’ Chora
The capital of the island, Chora, stands on top of a hill overlooking the Aegean Sea. It is perhaps one of the most charming Choras of Greece. The whitewashed houses, the elegant fortified medieval mansions with the magnificent low doors, and characteristic small windows stand out as they contrast with the dark, fortified walls of the Monastery of Saint John. Take a serene stroll through the alleyways and passages and feel the peaceful and spiritual atmosphere. For dinner choose “Vaggelis” that sits in one of the most intimate squares in the world. The setting is gorgeous, likewise the food.
2. Have breakfast or a “meze” at Katoi
At the entrance of Chora, you will find a breathtaking place that has been open since 1627 and carries memories of over 300 years. “Katoi” is a traditional kafenio with an atmosphere that reminds visitors of old Patmos through engravings, photos, old objects, and true Greek hospitality. Here the steaming coffee is accompanied by handmade sweets while the mezedes that accompany the tsipouro and ouzo came are straight from Yiayia’s secret treasure chest. The small veranda outside with the stunning view is a reminder of how beautiful life is.
3. Enjoy the sunset from Jimmy’s Balcony
Housed in a traditional 1795 building, at the entrance of Patmos Chora, very close to the Monastery, Jimmy’s balcony is the place to be for panoramic views across the north side of the island. Here you can see the nearby islands and the port of Patmos in Skala while enjoying tasty and very well-cooked dishes. The owner, Jimmy, has many stories to tell you, so you should definitely take the time to chat with him.
4. Relax all day long at Atmos Patmos
At the beach of Kambos, there is a new gem, under the name of Atmos Patmos. It is an exquisite and authentic beachside restaurant that provides high-quality food for those that wish to combine fun and enjoyable ambiance with skillful cooking into one extraordinary dining experience. From morning until night, you can unwind by the sea.
5. Meet the artist Andreas Kalatzis at his unique gallery in Chora
It is not easy to pass by his gallery, settled in a 1740s traditional home, and not take a look. You will probably spot Andreas Kalatzis, barefoot, working on an art piece, or other artists painting on the floor. Everything about him, his life, and his work are incredibly inspiring. If you ask for his business card, he will take a small piece of paper and draw at that very moment something different each time, depending on what he sees. On the back, he will write his name and telephone number. In the gallery, you will find a beguiling mix of abstract oils, sculptures, and quirky photography.
6. Explore Skala, the main port of the island
Skala is the largest settlement on the island, located right at the center of Patmos. Here you can discover the 17th century Church of Agia Paraskevi of Cavos with its magnificent view, an ancient ruin of an acropolis, the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, and the church of Panagia Koumana. After sightseeing sit down at the long-standing taverna of Pantelis (running since 1950) and enjoy traditional Greek cuisine. Once a week, there is live Greek music where everybody dances in the middle of the street. And don’t leave before tasting the delicious handmade Italian ice cream from Gelateria Marechiaro, known as “O Italos”.
7. Have a romantic dinner by the sea at “To Tsipouradiko Mas”
At this place, you sit on tables that are literally on the sand next to the waves; enjoy the sunset and the sea breeze while you savor seafood delicacies at its’ best. This is the exact image of a heavenly dinner in Greece we all have in mind as we try getting through winter.
8. Take a day trip to the islands of Arki, Marathi, and Lipsi
Join a boat excursion that runs daily from the northwest end of Skala quay to the islets of Arki, Marathi, and Lipsi. Arki and Marathi offer exquisite sandy beaches while Lipsi has more to see and do.
9. Visit the Monastery of St. John and the cave of Apocalypse
Head to the thousand-year-old monastery early in the morning in order to avoid the heat and enjoy the breathtaking views. The Cave of Apocalypse is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The tour guides explain the story of St John and the revelations he received from God through a cleft in the rock in the year 95AD.
10. Have dinner at Benetos
Located at a charming spot by the sea, Benetos is an elegant restaurant set on a farm by the sea, at Sapsila, just outside the town of Skala. Benetos serves classic Mediterranean dishes with a modern twist, while also including some Asian-infused dishes. The eclectic menu is a result of the chef’s extensive traveling and sampling of unique regional dishes throughout Europe and the United States. Emphasis is placed on using the freshest ingredients including local fish, and fresh vegetables and herbs from their own organic garden, located in front of the restaurant. Note: it is a little bit pricey and you should make a reservation.
How to get there
The fastest way to reach the island of Patmos is by air, via Samos, Kos, Leros, or Kalymnos. Catamarans and ferryboats depart from these islands, daily. Alternatively, you can take the boat from Piraeus that leaves 3-5 times a week and the duration of the journey is approximately 7-8 hours.
Where to stay
Onar Patmos, a resort hotel just a few metres away from the shore, close to the fishing village of Grikos. Ideal for families, couples, or a group of friends who are looking for a luxurious and tranquil feel.
Langada traditional farmhouse, which was developed during the centuries, around a small chapel and a central patio, overlooking Kambos beach.
All images by Polina Paraskevopoulou © (Copyright)